Chronic l-alpha acetylmethadol in rhesus monkeys: discriminative stimulus and other behavioral measures of dependence and withdrawal

Michael R. Brandt, Charles P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study characterized discriminative stimulus and other effects of naltrexone in rhesus monkeys treated daily with the long-acting opioid l-alpha acetylmethadol (LAAM). An initial dose-finding study assessed the rate-decreasing effects of naltrexone in three monkeys receiving LAAM daily (0.32-1.78 mg/ kg); subsequently, these monkeys and a fourth received 1.0 mg/kg/12 hr of LAAM although discriminating between naltrexone and saline. Responding occurred on the saline lever after the administration of LAAM, whereas >90% drug-lever responding occurred after the administration of 0.1 mg/kg of naltrexone that also elicited signs of withdrawal. Naloxone and quadazocine, but not morphine, nalbuphine or ketamine, substituted for naltrexone. Morphine and nalbuphine shifted the naltrexone dose-effect curve to the right. Compared to precipitated withdrawal, deprivation-induced withdrawal occasioned less naltrexone-lever responding and fewer observable signs of withdrawal. Maximal naltrexone-level responding occurred 24 to 48 hr after the discontinuation of LAAM treatment; the frequency of other withdrawal signs also peaked 24 to 48 hr after the discontinuation of LAAM. Partial naltrexone-lever responding occurred for up to 10 days after discontinuation of LAAM treatment; 4 and 8 days after the discontinuation of LAAM treatment, 0.1 mg/kg of naltrexone did no further increase naltrexone-lever responding or withdrawal signs suggesting that less-then-maximal naltrexone-lever responding was not due to long-lasting effects of LAAM or its metabolites. The discriminative stimuli that are associated with LAAM deprivation might be different from the stimuli associated with either training condition. This study is the first antagonist discrimination in non-humans primates treated chronically with LAAM and the results indicate that the naltrexone stimulus is related to opioid withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1037
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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